Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools 2016 tax rate lower than advertised; ADM count 23 less students

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Duneland advertised tax rate for 2016 is now less than it was a month ago.

Duneland Schools’ Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz said that after the refinancing for the Corporation’s pension debt service bonds this next year, the total tax rate is expected to be about $1.027 per $100 of assessed valuation, instead of the $1.267 advertised rate.

Comparatively, the School’s rate certified by the state in 2015 was $1.043.

The total budget for 2016 adopted Monday is $64,971,300, which will now be sent to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance which is expected to issue the budget order early next year.


Later, Duneland Schools Superintendent David Pruis said that Duneland’s Average Daily Member count taken Friday, Sept. 18 is 5,861 students. The state uses the ADM in its funding formula for schools. This next year’s base amount was increased to $4,967 per student by state lawmakers.

Pruis said the latest figure is lower than last year’s tally by 23 students, even with kindergarten students being counted as whole instead of half.

Brummitt keeps the beat

At the start of Monday’s meeting, Brummitt Elementary Principal Antonio Cammarata and music teacher Jane Cardinale presented part of their music program involving xylophones to enhance students’ musical abilities.

Brummitt xylophonists Alivia West, Morgan Darnell, Lyric Griffin, David Shook, Isdel Berruecos and Riley Henry entertained the board, playing selections like “Cobbler, Cobbler” and “One Little Froggy Goes Hop.”

The students demonstrated the techniques they learn in the class such as ostinato patterns, melody and canons.

Carinale said with the monies received from Duneland’s capital project fund, every child at Brummitt has a xylophone to play. The students learn the rhythms by first practicing keeping the beat using their hands and other parts of their bodies. Students in second grade learn part-singing while third graders learn part-playing, Cardinale said.

Cammarata said learning music is “very important to the growth and development” of students, just as including arts and physical education in their everyday lives is important. He joked he’s never been great at reading music and is always impressed at seeing students excel at it.

“Whenever I walk into a room and I see students singing, dancing or playing instruments, I’m awestruck,” he said.

Materials committee

In other business, the board approved the 2015-16 school year’s list of members for the materials reconsideration committee which is comprised of three parents (Kim Maggio, Jane Larson and Diane Michaels), three students (Camma Duhamell, Sydnet Ghoreishi and Nehemiah Sain), and three staff members (Carrie Disney, Hilda Demuth-Lutze and Karla Wilson).

On another note, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim Goetz said that the instructional materials center has been receiving “a bunch of books” that will be offered to the community. Most of the instructional books are from grades K through 6, he said.

The public is welcome to check out the books at the IMC in the Duneland Administration Center, connected to Chesterton Middle School.


The board unanimously approved continuing the memorandum of understanding with the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center for both parties to ensure that any Duneland student entered in at the center will maintain and keep up with school work while they are there.

Legislative goals

Acting again this year as the board’s legislative liaison, board member John Marshall recounted his time spent at the Indiana School Boards Association’s fall convention where the heads of the ISBA made known what they are striving for in the 2016 Indiana Legislative session.

The ISBA supports adequate funding of public schools, elections of non-partisan school board members, the current 180 instructional day calendar and opposes school voucher programs, Marshall said, as well as giving school corporations representation on local redevelopment commission boards.

He also learned that many schools are reaching low points in their transportation operating funds due to the effects of the Indiana tax cap circuit breaker and the ISBA hopes to work with lawmakers this year to make amendments to the statute.

Duneland School Board President Ralph Ayres, who is also the chair of the ISBA’s legislative committee, said the ISBA Executive Director Brian Smith is working on legislative drafts instead of suggesting amendments to currently existing statutes. This year, the ISBA will be able to inform school boards more quickly of things that are going on in the legislature, Ayres said.



Posted 10/13/2015




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